Need Some Cheap Ideas !!

Discussion in 'Alternative Energy' started by Helena, Jul 28, 2006.

  1. Helena

    Helena Well-Known Member

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    north central Pennsylvania
    I came across the magazine Home Power the other day..very interesting. But my question is...how does a "poor" homesteader get away from the "grid" with little money and less appitude for mechanical things ?? We hooked up the easy metal drums filled with water on the barn roof to have the "solar" showers in the summer months..but I am past the point of not wanting to pay the propane company for their gas to heat house hot water !! I could handle just the gas usage for the kitchen stove when not using the cook stove during those months..any easy ideas for me. I look at all of your ideas and in the magazines too...and I am totally..totally lost...at what to do..Help !!
     
  2. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yoou do without until you can afford to buy the equipment that you need. We got started when our 3 sons were little, and we didn't have steady or full-time employment. We started with a used wind generator which we refurbished and installed ourselves, back when no one was making new ones. Got used batteries, used a car radio for the house radio, found a used cheap LP Servel refrigerator. Never had a water heater until the boys were teenagers and they decided we should have showers in the house year-around.
     

  3. labrat

    labrat Well-Known Member

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    Your post doesn't state what part of the country you hail, so just for general info make an attempt to go to the various energy expos that garner the fairgrounds and exposition centers in the summer and autumn, you’ll get the info from the magazines like homepower and Back Home. The expos are rather inexpensive and a lot of info is passed around at these. Then again, just as WisJim stated you must live with what you have unless you can or want to live on credit, not such a good idea. I personally have found that Freecycle and Cheapcycle , both help me in that I don’t have to pay full retail for items that I might otherwise purchase, or possibly get free. This frees up the funds that I can use for major purchases such as solar panels or new batteries.
     
  4. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    Heat your water on a woodstove during the winter that is what we did before I deployed since i ma gone for now I installled a propane heater.
     
  5. SolarGary

    SolarGary Well-Known Member

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    Montana
    Hi,

    For hot water and some space heating, there are lots of inexpensive solar designs. Some of these can be put together for almost nothing if you do some scrounging.

    Some links:

    Some Inexpensive Solar Projects with 1 year paybacks:
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/frugal.htm
    http://www.builditsolar.com/TopTen/tenoneyearpb.htm

    Hot Water:
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/WaterHeating/water_heating.htm#Batch
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/WaterHeating/ISPWH/ispwh.htm
    If you can do with a gravity system, the hot solar hot water heaters can be really simple. Take a look at the "Pillow" heaters in the link above.

    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/WaterHeating/water_heating.htm#Showers

    Space Heating:
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Sunspace/sunspaces.htm
    Some of the simple sunspaces can provide a lot of heat to the house they are attached to -- have a look at the $22 one by Laren Corie

    You could do a small version (say 60 sqft) of this one for $100 or maybe nothing with some scrounging -- it would provide a lot of free heat.
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/SpaceHeating/solar_barn_project.htm

    None of these are going to eliminate your heating from fuels, but they can put a big dent in the fuel bill.

    The electrical end is tougher. The components are expensive.
    I guess that really cutting your electrical needs down, and them going with a small system might be the best -- maybe a strictly 12V system?
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/PV/pv.htm#Small Systems

    Gary